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Eben Etzebeth’s racial slur allegations to be discussed in Japan

The 27-year-old Springbok lock denied assaulting a homeless man and calling him the H-word outside a pub in Langebaan, in the Western Cape, in August.

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth (L) is tackled by England flanker Brad Shields (R) during the international rugby union test match between England and South Africa at Twickenham stadium in south-west London on 3 November 2018. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Rugby Union (Saru) is set to hold talks with its counterparts in Japan on Thursday after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) indicated it would take Springbok player Eben Etzebeth to the Equality Court for allegedly using a racial slur.

The 27-year-old Springbok lock was accused of assaulting a homeless man and calling him the H-word outside a pub in Langebaan, in the Western Cape, in August. He denied these claims when they emerged. The H-word is a racial slur used to insult people of Khoisan descent.

Yorayda Papier-Jansen accused Etzebeth and others of assaulting and pointing a gun at a homeless man. She also said in a Facebook post that she and her cousin were racially abused by the rugby player and others in his company. A video of the incident circulated on social media over the weekend. Etzebeth denied the claims in a Facebook post.

N springbok wat nounog rasisties is. Jy behoord jou te skaam. Mens doeni dit nie.

Posted by Grant Simon on Saturday, 24 August 2019

Etzebeth is currently on tour with the national rugby team for the World Cup in Japan.

The Springbok player denied this, saying witnesses would corroborate his story.

The SAHRC said on Wednesday it was in talks with the Langebaan community to gather more information.

The commission's Chris Nissen said: “We must be fair to everybody and obviously give them a chance to respond to it and that’s why we thought the best place for that to happen is in a court of law.”

The matter is set to be heard in the Equality Court on Friday.

Meanwhile, SA Rugby announced on Thursday it would launch an internal investigation into allegations against Etzebeth.

"SA Rugby reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it or its employees by South African authorities," SA Rugby said in a statement.

"We have fulfilled all requests to date and will continue to do so as and when advised ... Following our discussions with the South African Human Rights Commission, we have instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player."

Additional reporting by AFP.

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